Proud Boys Guilty of Conspiracy in Jan. 6 Insurrection – Rolling Stone

Enrique Tarrio RS 1800

After a trial that stretched nearly four months, four Proud Boys have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy in connection to the insurrection of Jan. 6.

The jury delivered guilty verdicts for Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of Proud Boys; Ethan Nordean, who was the leader on the ground in Washington; Zachary Rehl, a top Proud Boy from Philadelphia;
and Joseph Biggs, one of the best known militants, with a big social media following.

A fifth Proud Boy, Dominic Pezzola — who smashed out a window — at the Capitol was found guilty, along with the other four, on a secondary charge of obstructing Congress.

In one of the last, major high-profile cases stemming from the insurrection, prosecutors succeeded in proving the Proud Boys defendants engaged in sedition. The verdict builds on the previous convictions of numerous Oath Keepers on the same seditious conspiracy charge.

The verdict was a partial one, and before it was entered, the judge urged the jurors to continue working for unanimity on the remaining counts.

The Proud Boys are a far-right drinking and fighting club that promotes “Western Chauvinism” — which they define as a refusal “to apologize for creating the modern world.” The Associated Press dubs them “a neofacist group” and they are deemed a terrorist entity by the government of Canada. 

The Proud Boys are infamous for brawling with antifa activists during street protests. At the bitter end of the Trump era, the group had become increasingly militia-like in its M.O., and staunchly backed the MAGA president. Trump even said during a debate ahead of the 2020 election that the group should “stand back and stand by.” Tarrio’s lawyer said during closing arguments on Tuesday that the directive led the Proud Boys to “grow so large that vetting became difficult.”


This Proud Boys trial stood out, in part, because the most prominent defendant on trial, former honcho Tarrio, was not on the ground in D.C. on the day of the attack, having been ordered to leave the city after an unrelated arrest days earlier. But Tarrio, according to evidence in the case, continued to direct his hand-picked deputies in a strike force dubbed the “Ministry of Self-Defense,” or MOSD, from nearby Baltimore.

Another of the co-defendants, Dominic “Spaz” Pezzola, was accused of wrestling a riot shield from a Capitol cop, and using it to break through a window at the Capitol, in one of the first breaches of the building. Pezzola was defiant when he took the stand during the proceedings, railing against “this corrupt trial” and “these fake charges.” He insisted the Proud Boys who stormed the Capitol were just “trespassing protesters.”

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